Written answers

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government

Private Rented Accommodation

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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292. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the current regulations applicable to property renters and the further regulations planned with regard to the negative implications upon housing supply of peer-to-peer accommodation rental companies (details supplied). [37454/16]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 , as amended by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 , regulates the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented residential sector and sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.

Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, as amended by the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. The Regulations specify requirements in relation to a range of matters, such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, natural light and safety of gas and electrical supply.  With very limited exemptions, these regulations apply to local authority and voluntary housing units as well as private rented residential accommodation. To ensure that the standards reflect the requirements of a modern rental market, a review of the Standards Regulations has been initiated. The review is at an advanced stage with new regulations currently being finalised.

Pillar 4 of Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, which deals with the Rental Sector, commits to developing a comprehensive strategy for the sector in Q4 2016. The strategy will be structured around 4 key areas: security, standards, supply and services. In terms of supply, the strategy will focus on maintaining existing levels of rental stock and encouraging investment in additional supply. All the main issues that affect the availability of dwellings in the rental market, including the issue of short-term lettings, will be considered during the development of the strategy, which will be informed by submissions received from the recent public consultation process that concluded on 7 November. The overarching objective of the strategy will be to increase supply and support the development of a stable, strong and viable rental sector offering true choice for households, investment opportunities for providers and reflecting the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.

In the context of the recent determination by An Bord Pleanála in relation to the exclusive use of an apartment as a commercial letting through Air BnB, I have asked my Department to examine the decision, which is of course primarily a matter for planning authorities to determine, and consider the appropriate steps, including the provision of statutory planning guidelines, to provide clarity and consistency of approach by all planning authorities in terms of planning requirements for such commercial lettings. In this regard, I will provide guidance to local authorities by way of circular letter before the end of the year.


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